Carnival cruise passengers sue seeking $5,000 a month for life

marinelink.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A group of passengers suing Carnival cruise lines for damages after an engine fire left their ship adrift for days are asking the company to pay $5,000 a month for the rest of their lives for medical bills and mental anguish.


A lawsuit brought by 33 passengers of the ill-fated 2013 voyage could change how cruise lines insulate themselves from legal actions, according to maritime legal experts.

A second pending lawsuit with three-times as many plaintiffs has the potential to further undo the advantageous legal position cruise lines have long enjoyed.

Both cases stem from a February 2013 incident when the Carnival Triumph broke down after launching from Galveston, Texas for what was to be a four-day cruise with a stop in Cozumel, Mexico.

A fire broke out in the ship's engine room as it was returning from Cozumel. The Triumph was left without engine power, or air conditioning and working toilets. Stalled in the Gulf of Mexico for five days, passengers described human waste seeping into hallways, and being forced to sleep on deck under makeshift tarps with no cooked food.

A federal judge in South Florida last week finished hearing three weeks of testimony from passengers and is expected to issue a judgment in the next two months.

The Miami lawsuit is the first from the Triumph incident to go to trial, with others in preparation, according maritime lawyers.

In a statement, Carnival Corp said that while it recognizes its guests experienced uncomfortable conditions, everyone returned safely and were provided with a full refund, a free future cruise and an additional $500 per person.

"This is an opportunistic lawsuit brought by plaintiff's counsel and plaintiffs who seek to make a money grab," a company spokeswoman said.

One of the plaintiffs, Debra Oubre, 59, said she has experienced panic and anxiety attacks since the cruise, and also blames the experience for a urinary tract infection.

"It was chaotic. People were in dire need of help," said Oubre. "We were standing in line for food for five hours."

Federal judge Donald Graham has already ruled that the engine catching on fire is proof alone of negligence on the part of Carnival, a significant blow for the cruise line, according to Robert Peltz, a Miami maritime lawyer.

"It would seem rather obvious that ships shouldn't just catch fire and then have fire suppression systems that don't work," Peltz said.

Carnival has since started a fleet-wide "enhancement," including a major re-wiring of its engine rooms and improvements to fire safety and emergency power features.

Cruise lines like Carnival have successfully inoculated themselves against passenger lawsuits by printing stringent terms on their tickets that require passengers to waive their right to a class-action lawsuit.

Graham's ruling, which is expected to come in the next two months, could find the terms of conditions printed on the tickets, so-called "contracts of adhesion," to be overreaching.

The contracts have rankled some federal judges in southern Florida where several cruise lines are based, according to maritime lawyer, David Neblett. The splintering of myriad cruise cases for relatively meager sums clogs their calendars, he said.

One term of the ticket contract is that passengers can only bring their cases to the Southern District of Florida and plaintiffs lawyers complain that people coming from other states to litigate is too costly for them.

 

By David Quiñones

Maritime Reporter July 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

People & Company News

Del Mar Signs Agency Agreement with Ciramar

Del Mar Marine Corp. announced it has signed an agency agreement with Ciramar Shipyards allowing the company to promote Ciramar Shipyard´s docking and facilities

Bouchard Orders Two Newbuild ATB Tugs

Morton S. Bouchard III, President and CEO of Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc., today announced the next step in Bouchard Transportation Co., Inc.’s ongoing fleet

Great Lakes Shipyard Wins EPA Drydock Contract

Great Lakes Shipyard has been awarded a contract for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) vessel R/V Lake Explorer II. The scope of work will include drydocking,

Legal

Bulk Carrier Detained; Two Crew Convicted

A Hong Kong flagged vessel was detained in Queensland following a Port State Control (PSC) inspection conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Bill Promotes US LNG Vessel Transport

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, introduced H.

Citigroup Seeks British Court Backing on China Metals Claims

Citigroup Inc said on Friday it has started proceedings in commercial court in London to enforce its rights over $285 million of financing at two ports in China,

Marine Propulsion

Langh Ship Scrubber Receives Class Approval

Langh Ship received on July 17, 2014 final class approval from Germanischer Lloyd for its exhaust gas cleaning system on m/s Laura, a 1996-built a 6,500 DWT general

Rolls-Royce Appoints Ruth Cairnie as Non-Executive Director

Rolls-Royce is pleased to announce that Ruth Cairnie has been appointed as a Non-Executive Director of the Company with effect from 1 September 2014. Ruth

WEG to Showcase Drive Solutions at SMM

WEG, a global supplier of drive systems, will showcase its range of systems for the shipbuilding and offshore industry at this year’s SMM (Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Fair) in Hamburg.

Cruise Ship Trends

Princess Cruises to Add New Ship to Fleet

Today, Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival Corporation & plc, announced that it has reached an agreement with the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build a new ship,

WEG to Showcase Drive Solutions at SMM

WEG, a global supplier of drive systems, will showcase its range of systems for the shipbuilding and offshore industry at this year’s SMM (Shipbuilding, Machinery & Marine Technology Fair) in Hamburg.

Fincantieri to Build Third New Princess Cruises Ship

Fincantieri says it has signed an agreement with Carnival Corp. to build  the new cruise ship for its Princess Cruises brand at a cost of about 600 million euros.

Finance

Fortis Earns $47 mi in the 2Q 2014

Fortis Inc. achieved second quarter net earnings attributable to common equity shareholders of $47 million, or $0.22 per common share, compared to $54 million, or $0.

Japan Loans Petrobras $500m to Build Ship Platforms

Brazil's state-controlled oil company Petrobras signed on Friday a $500 million loan from Japan to build eight ship platforms for the oil industry, as part of the

SEACOR Holdings Announces Q2 Results

SEACOR Holdings Inc. has announced its results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2014. For the quarter ended June 30, 2014, net income attributable to SEACOR Holdings Inc.

Marine Power

Langh Ship Scrubber Receives Class Approval

Langh Ship received on July 17, 2014 final class approval from Germanischer Lloyd for its exhaust gas cleaning system on m/s Laura, a 1996-built a 6,500 DWT general

Korea Shipbuilder Wins US$400-M Greek Order

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co., South Korea’s second-largest shipbuilder, says it has signed a contract to build 4 tankships for Maran Tankers Management,

Rolls Royce Marine Awarded LCS Engine Repair Contract

U.S. Department of Defense informs that Rolls Royce Marine North America, Walpole, Massachusetts, is being awarded a US$9,000,000 firm-fixed-price repair order

Maritime Safety

HII in $49.6 mi Deal for Work on USS George Washington (CVN 73)

Huntington Ingalls Industries (NYSE:HII) announced today that its Newport News Shipbuilding division has received a $49.6 million contract to begin planning

Bulk Carrier Detained; Two Crew Convicted

A Hong Kong flagged vessel was detained in Queensland following a Port State Control (PSC) inspection conducted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

Coast Guard Preps for Arctic Research

A team of scientists from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Research and Development Center (RDC) will depart from Seward, Alaska, for a technology evaluation in the

People in the News

Bill Promotes US LNG Vessel Transport

Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA-03), Ranking Member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee, introduced H.

ABS President Wiernicki Signs New MARAD Agreement

The American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) informs that it has entered into a new Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) establishing the policies and procedures regarding the

MNZ Opens New Office in Port Taranaki

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) informs that for the first time in 5 years it has a permanent presence in New Plymouth on the opening of a new office at Port Taranaki

 
 
Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1236 sec (8 req/sec)